Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I oppose this amendment. As in the case of the Conservative amendment, I think this amendment is simply not necessary, given the nature of the Arms Trade Treaty.
For weeks, my colleagues opposite have been saying that the Arms Trade Treaty does not affect individual owners and so forth. We have heard plenty of testimony and now suddenly they put forward this amendment. It is quite ironic and a bit strange, but perhaps they will have the opportunity to explain their rationale.
I do not think this amendment is necessary. More importantly, it eliminates the requirement to report on the sale or transfer of arms without a permit, certificate or other authorization. The basic problem I see is that this obviously exempts all of our arms sales to the United States, which we do not agree on.
It is essential for us to have much greater transparency and complete reports on our arms sales to the United States. Exempting our arms exports to the United States violates articles 5 and 12 of the Arms Trade Treaty.
Article 5 reads as follows:
Each State Party shall implement this Treaty in a consistent, objective and non-discriminatory manner, bearing in mind the principles referred to in this Treaty.
Let me read you the first paragraph of article 12:
Each State Party shall maintain national records, pursuant to its national laws and regulations, of its issuance of export authorizations or its actual exports of the conventional arms covered under Article 2(1).
So there is no reason to exempt our arms exports to the United States. The Arms Trade Treaty is very clear in this regard: this also pertains to effective exports, so it should apply to our exports to the United States.
For the record, I would like to read out what Mr. Andrew Stobo Sniderman, who was the advisor to Stéphane Dion, former minister of foreign affairs, said about human rights. Since we have not had the opportunity to hear testimony from him in this committee, I will read out what he said in this regard.
The federal government says its new legislation to implement the international Arms Trade Treaty will increase transparency and accountability. That would be welcome news, given that we are talking about how Canada sells weapons that kill people.
Unfortunately, the proposed legislation leaves an exception as big as the rule.
Canada sends about half its arms exports to the United States—maybe more, maybe less, nobody really knows. That is because current rules do not require reporting on arms sales to the United States. It is probably more than you think, and our hands may be dirtier than you know.
There are two main reasons given in support of our current approach. First, it is best for business. The border barely exists for the defence industry, and that is the way integrated supply chains want it. Many jobs, families and seats in the House of Commons depend on a seamless flow of military goods, often parts and components.